A Nonrestrictive Semiotics of the Immune System

  • Patrizia Violi
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 23)


I would like to start with a personal remark. When the opportunity comes to discuss serniotics with peopie from a different disciplinary area, I feel both hope arid fear. I wonder, then, whether we semioticians are finally getting into the market, close to selling our theories and to showing that they are really productive; or whether too much work will be required out of us to make them really a little productive for others to use. At Il Ciocco, I tried to be neither too hopeful nor too fearful. Vet now, in putting down my ideas I see I can only sail between those two feelings. Is Semiotics relevant to Immunology? I could be very strict, very defensive in a way, and give an elucidation of Semiotics such that the answer would be a clear—cut no. Extant theories of Semiotics would be very helpful at that, because they are meant to give a paradigrnatic definition of what Semiotics is. But I will rather be tentative arid try to explore a nonparadigmatic case, which is interesting in itself for a semiotician, and which could fit the case. The case is indeed not clear cut, not paradigrnatic. In order to frame it, I had to reconsider the most basic methodological tenets of my discipline. What follows is a description of the problems I met, together with an attempt to explore an alternative idea from which, for the moment, more than definite answers, new questions arise. Within a semiotic-1inguistic tradition, one learns first of all the distinction between natural and non-natural meanings or signs. Such a distinction is based on a rather intuitive difference between cases such as ’smoke means fire’, and cases such as ’with his words he meant such arid such’.


Natural Case Semiotic System Disciplinary Area Restrictive View Meaningful Environment 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrizia Violi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of BolognaItaly

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